Sport Chalet, the sporting goods retailer that was founded more than 50 years ago, has announced that they are shutting down all its stores by April 29, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sport Chalet has also confirmed that they have stopped their online sales. The owner of Sport Chalet, the Vestis Retail Group, decided to shut down the company after it failed to generate profits more than two years it was purchased by them for more than $17 million. Sport Chalet already had debts amounting to more than $52 million when Vestis Retail Group took over the company in 2014 — three years after the death of its founder Norbert Olberz. According to KTLA, Sport Chalet at the time of its sale to the Vestis Retail Group did not have a single profitable year in the past seven years preceding 2014.
Sport Chalet has posted a statement on its website in which it states that their stores would remain open no later than April 29 till they clear out all the remaining stock they have. The statement adds that those who have purchased gift cards from them and are unable to redeem them before April 29 can walk into either of Sport Chalet’s sister stores Eastern Mountain Sports or Bob’s Stores through July 29, 2016.
The statement reads,
“On April 16th, 2016 Sport Chalet began the process of closing all of our stores and stopped selling merchandise online. While our online store is no longer available, all Sport Chalet stores will remain open for several weeks, offering customers the opportunity to use their remaining rewards and gift cards, and to take advantage of great sales. Please click here to find your nearest Sport Chalet store.
“Sport Chalet gift cards, rewards certificates and store credits will be honored in Sport Chalet stores through April 29th, 2016. Customers who are unable to visit us before this date are invited to transfer gift card balances to a gift card from one of our sister stores, Eastern Mountain Sports or Bob’s Stores through July 29th, 2016. To transfer your balance, please contact customer service at (888) 801-9162 and an agent will assist you.
“We also ask that you pick up any equipment that had been left in one of our stores for repair no later than April 29th, 2016 and ask you to return Sport Chalet rental equipment before this date.
“Thank you for your loyalty over the years. We hope to see you at our store closing sales.”
Several people were shocked to learn about the imminent closure of Sport Chalet and talked about the same on Twitter.
— Nancy Gay (@nancygay) April 17, 2016
@SportChalet so sad to hear the news… Grew up with you guys, you’re the best!!
— Paige Parker (@Parker_E_) April 17, 2016
i’m gonna miss working here, goodbye sport chalet???? pic.twitter.com/6iTiF7YstQ
— turpentine (@cdturpen) April 17, 2016
Sport Chalet traces its origins back to the ’50s when the company was founded by Norbert Olberz and his wife Irene. The husband-wife duo had purchased a ski and tennis shop in La Cañada Flintridge, California. The couple built the company using a $5,000 loan they took to stock their first store with ski gear. The duo had also borrowed money from their relative to start the business.
There were rumors of Sport Chalet shutting down for several weeks. However, the senior management of the company did not divulge any information when asked about any such possibilities.
At the time of closing, Sport Chalet would have more than 40 stores in California alone. The company also operated in Arizona and Nevada. The company faced stiff competition from several online retailers as well as stores such as Target.
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)